Five years ago,the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) installed 67 citizen facilitation centres (CFC) kiosks across the city to make payment of property tax convenient,along with easier access to civic services,such as getting birth and death certificates.
The civic body pays the appointed agency Rs 14,700 per kiosk every month but the kiosks that stand on civic properties including footpaths and gardens are hardly of any use to the public. This because the only facility available is collection of property tax cheques.
A visit to some kiosks revealed that they only collect property tax cheques even as boards display a list of facilities available,including payment of property tax,MSEDCL and telephone bills along with booking tickets of railways,airways and road transport.
Most kiosks are in a dilapidated state with broken furniture. One employee is posted at the CFCs from 10 am to 4 pm to collect cheques. There is no other facility available at the kiosk. We only collect property tax cheques, said an employee at the kiosk outside Sambhaji Garden on JM Road,who did not wish to be named.
The woman said she was just an employee of the agency and didnt know why other services were not available at the kiosk. I am on contract basis and have to sit here to collect cheques. The agency does not pay us regularly, she said.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Hemant Nikam,incharge of property tax department,said collection of tax through kiosks is minimal. Most of the tax-payers prefer to pay at the CFC in the PMC main building or ward offices. Very few people submit their cheque at kiosks, he said,adding that the major collection of property tax is done in the first three months of the financial year.
PMC chief accountant Ulka Kalaskar said the civic body has been paying Rs 14,700 to the agency for each kiosk every month. PMC has started using technology advances for revenue collections,which include online facility,and has also tied up with banks to collect revenue, she said,adding that the exact use of kiosks can only be confirmed by the computer department,which is incharge of the facility.
PMC computer department head Rahul Jagtap said they will review the situation soon. We will check the facilities available at the kiosks and the numbers that are operating, he added.
A civic official said CFC kiosks have not yielded the desired results and PMC is spending more than it is getting. Cash collection was stopped at kiosks after complaints that the appointed agency was delaying depositing collections to the civic body, he added.